New Year, new training programme!

Written by Alice Withers on 21 January 2015

Recent research shows that businesses in the UK are neglecting training, with only 25 per cent of employed adults surveyed suggesting they had received training on the skills they need[1]. With the new financial year approaching now is the time to make sure you are allocating enough of your budget to tackle your training needs. But first, you need to make sure you know what those needs are.

There are a number of ways to approach this problem. A simple way is to conduct an employee engagement survey, with some questions included on whether your staff feel they have the training they need to do their job. However, if you want a more in depth analysis, a training needs assessment is the way to go.

A training needs assessment can cover a variety of skills, from computer literacy to management and leadership skills. A robust assessment will allow you to direct different questions to different members of staff to ensure you are covering the relevant skills for a variety of job roles. The results can then be broken down by any number of relevant factors, such as job roles, departments, or even age, to ensure that any training is directed to the most relevant employees.

When planning the questions for the assessment, align them with the training you have available. This provides a good starting point and highlights any areas where you currently don’t have any training options. Make sure you also include questions about areas you don’t currently offer training in, but make sure you are prepared with a plan to tackle any skill needs that arise in these areas.

It’s important that your staff feel comfortable being honest about their training needs, and a way to ensure this is to make the survey anonymous. However, one useful tip is enable staff to enter their email address if they wish so that they can have a copy of their own responses to help build their own personal development plan, and so they can approach their line manager with a structured report on how they would like to progress.

A further way to ensure staff feel comfortable being honest it to tell them before they complete the survey how the results will be used. They need to know that the results won’t be used against them, but to help develop them and enhance their career prospects. Equally important is communicating the results to your staff, so that they are aware of the actions you are taking based on their feedback. This stage is critical, as anytime a staff survey is completed and the results and planned actions are not communicated you are likely to see a drop in staff morale.

About the author
Alice Withers is a researcher at People 1st. She can be contacted at alice.withers@people1st.co.uk

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